Experience Joy In Hard Times – Acts 16:22-40

From my reading in Acts 16:22-40 in the One Year New Testament.

One of the most amazing things that our faith in Jesus gives us is the ability to experience joy in hard times!

Paul and Silas were stripped, severly beaten and thrown into an inner dungeon, yet still praised the Lord.

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25

This is an amazing example of joy in hard times.

If anyone had the right to throw a pity-party they did. Instead they had a prayer and worship service!  These men understood that even though their present circumstance was bad, God was good!

No matter how bad your circumstances are you can celebrate the goodness of God.

In bad times Christians have a hope that in heaven he will wipe away all our tears and take away our pain!

Our joy in hard times can be a witness to others.

It says that the other prisoners were listing to them. Probably there are some boring nights in the jail cell. Hearing joyful singing was probably not a common occurrence in that dungeon!

Next time you encounter a hard time pray and worship God.

It will help you get your mind off your problems and on to the only one ultimately in charge, it will also be a good example to others!

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Is “Once Saved, Always Saved” True? – John 5:1-24

From my reading in John 5:1-24 in the One Year New Testament.

Can you lose your salvation? Is someone really “once saved, always saved?”

I memorized a powerful verse in college that leads me to believe that once someone truly is saved then they will stay saved.

“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.” John 5:24

I tell you the truth…

He’s not lying! He is about to say something very important and true!

Those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me…

Those to listen and put their trust in God are the ones who will be saved. This listening is a not a passive listening but a listening with the willingness to obey.

In this context, believing in the one who sent Jesus is a way of affirming Jesus himself.  We must turn from our sin and place our faith in Jesus to be saved.

Have eternal life…

Eternal life is something you can have! Notice, it doesn’t say that someday you can have; it it says you HAVE eternal life.

Eternal life starts the moment you receive Christ and continues forever! The nature of eternal life being eternal and all makes me think that we cannot lose something that last forever!

They will never be condemned for their sins…

When you receive Christ your past, present, and future sins are forgiven. You will not be condemned for the wrong you have done. Instead Jesus was condemned for us on the cross. The fact that even our future sins were paid for makes be believe you cannot lose your salvation.

But they have already passed from death into life.

A transaction took place when you placed your trust in Jesus.

Through the cross you crossed over from death to life. Once you have crossed over to the side of life, there is no turning back.

This one verse shows several reasons that I believe you cannot lose your salvation. Now, I do believe that if we are saved we will persevere, and I believe that those that thought they were “saved” but then turned away proved they were never truly saved in the first place.

If you have given you life to follow Jesus and have seen undeniable fruit of your salvation, then you can know that you have eternal life and that’s something to celebrate!

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What Amazed Jesus – Matthew 8:1-17

Reflection from my reading in Matt 8:1-17 the One Year Bible New Testament. 

Under Authority

A Roman officer asked Jesus to heal his servant that was suffering terribly. Jesus was very willing to come to his home and heal him. Here’s what the centurion said,

But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”  Matthew 8:8–9 

The officer understood that those in authority have it regardless of proximity. He had faith that Jesus had authority over his servant’s sickness.  The officer’s faith was in the authority of Jesus, not in some magic formula.

When you pray, are you depending on a formula or are you trusting the power of Jesus? 

Jesus Marveled

When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.” Matthew 8:10 

Jesus was amazed at the Gentile (non-Jewish) officer’s faith. It’s amazing to me that the Son of God was amazed! He had not seen faith this strong in all his travels amongst the people of Israel, which were God’s chosen people!

All Over the World

 I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,” Matthew 8:11 

In this statement, Jesus is commending the officer, but at the same time he is using it as a lesson that non-Jewish people can have faith too! Indeed, people all over the world are coming to faith in Jesus and will celebrate in the Kingdom of Heaven! And ironically, many Jewish people will reject Jesus as their Messiah, and instead of feasting in God’s Kingdom will experience separation from God in Hell. Jesus then said to the officer in Matt 8:13,

                            “Go, let it be done for you as you have believed.”

Jesus was not bound by location but healed the servant instantly because of the officer’s faith. I wonder how much Jesus would do in our lives if we had faith like that officer. I am encouraged to believe in Jesus’ power to do anything and pray big prayers knowing Jesus has the authority to answer them if he chooses!

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